Work on the proposed new road overbridge (ROB) at Viralimalai Road intersection near the Railway Junction in Tiruchi is set to takeoff in the next three to four months as the Highways Department finally called for tenders for the project recently.

The project has been in the planning stage for the past three to four years. The new multilevel ROB will replace the existing narrow bridge that has turned a traffic bottleneck in the city. The State government had sanctioned the ROB at an estimated cost of Rs.74 crore. The ROB would run 1.8 km. The existing bridge, leading from the Aristo Hotel Traffic Island and the Railway Junction, runs across railway lines leading to the Chennai Bypass and the Tiruchi-Madurai National Highway (NH 45-B).

It leads to the Central Bus Stand and the Tiruchi-Dindigul National Highway (NH 45). The narrow bridge has steep gradients and the police in recent years had to install multiple signals to regulate the traffic flow across the bridge.

Notwithstanding the traffic signals and the policemen on duty, chaos prevails on the bridge as vehicles pile up from different directions. To ease the congestion, the Projects Wing of the Highways Department came up with a plan to build a trestle and embankment bridge. The bridge has been designed taking into account the traffic volume at the Aristo Hotel Junction, the Railway Station Junction, and the Madurai highway Junctions. The ROB will have seven arms each with two to three lanes leading towards the Chennai Bypass, Aristo Hotel Junction, Dindigul Highway, Central Bus Stand, Railway junction, Madurai Highway, and a new road to be laid near the MSP camp.

The arms towards Chennai Bypass Road and Aristo Hotel junction would have three lanes each at the higher and lower levels. Service roads would be provided at the ground-level along all important arms.

Last week, the Highways Department had called for tenders for the first stage of the project under which a new three-lane ROB with five arms will be built at a cost of Rs. 44.28 crore adjacent to the existing bridge. “Traffic will continue to the allowed through the existing bridge until the structure was ready. In the next stage, the old bridge will be dismantled and a new bridge with two arms will be built in its place.

Work on the project will begin after the completion of the tendering process in the next three months,” said an officer in the Highways Department. The Railways will build the portion of the ROB across the tracks.

The Highways Department recently completed the demarcation of land to be acquired or alienated by different government agencies for the ROB and the district administration is actively pursuing the acquisition/alienation process.

About 4,600 square metres of private lands are to be acquired for the project apart from alienation/transfer of lands from Tamil Nadu Special Police Battalion grounds (about 18,500 square metres), the Railways (about 7,300 square metres), the P&T Quarters (about 350 square metres) and Defence lands (about 2,500 square metres). Since most of the land required is held by government agencies, land acquisition is not expected to pose much of a problem for the project, unlike several other ROB projects that ran into land acquisition delays in the city.